Staying Sober Through Relapse Prevention and Aftercare

Relapse prevention and aftercare plans are effective at ensuring that you continue maintaining your sobriety over the long term. You should create these plans when you are still enrolled in an addiction treatment program so that you know exactly what you need to do in case you encounter any triggers that could lead to your relapse upon checking out of the treatment program.

Understanding Relapse Prevention and Aftercare Plans

At their core, relapse prevention and aftercare plans refer to the plans that you will make to continue seeking help and support for your substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders even after you have successfully completed a professional addiction treatment program.

Even after meeting all the goals of your chosen drug rehab program and finished the active phase of your treatment, you will still need additional support to ensure that you do not relapse. This is where your relapse prevention and aftercare plans will come in.

Although you need to be proud of the fact that you successfully completed formal addiction treatment, the work would not yet be considered to be over. There are other things that you need to continue doing to ensure that you do not start using intoxicating and mind altering substances. All these things are collectively known as continuing care or relapse prevention and aftercare.

Considerations for Relapse Prevention

According to NIDA - the National Institute of Drug Abuse - and ASAM - the American Association of Addiction Medicine - there are some things that you need to keep in mind with regards to the reality of long term recovery. These things include but are not limited to:

  • About 25 to 35 percent of people who have attended drug rehab would find themselves back in a similar program a year after they complete treatment
  • About 40 to 60 percent of people who have already been through a drug rehab program will relapse at one point or the other in their lives
  • It is impossible to think about recovery as a state of full stability until you have been continuously sober for 5 years
  • More than 50 percent of people who have been through a professional addiction treatment program will enroll in further treatment within the 5 years of their recovery
  • Your highest risk of relapse would typically be during the first 90 days after you have completed an addiction treatment program

Of course, it goes without saying that if you only complete a medical detox program and refuse to follow it up with additional addiction treatment programs, it is highly likely that you would have a greater relapse risk.

Sobriety through Relapse Prevention and Aftercare

To this end, you should ensure that your relapse prevention and aftercare program is highly tailored to your particular needs, requirements, and preferences for long term recovery.

You would only be able to implement this program once you have checked out of your formal addiction treatment center. While doing so, you should always remember that the program can help you continue maintaining your sobriety while also offering you new opportunities for positive growth in your personal and professional lives.

You should think about relapse prevention and aftercare plans as the set of activities that could help you maintain the gains that you achieved during your initial addiction treatment process. Through these plans, you will get started on a new phase in your long term abstinence and recovery.

To this end, relapse prevention and aftercare should be an ongoing process. Through the plans that you created, you should be duly motivated to continue engaging in different activities to help you improve your general health and wellness.

That said, the main goal of any aftercare program would be to reduce your risk of relapse to such low levels that you do not give in to any temptations to start using drugs or drinking alcohol again. However, this program can also offer you new opportunities to continue learning and growing in your recovery as well as in the various aspects of your life.

Due to the relatively high risk of relapse that you will face during the first few months of your recovery, you should create unique relapse prevention and aftercare plans while you are still actively involved in an addiction treatment program. By so doing, you will get the opportunity to work with your counselors, therapists, and case managers to create long term recovery plans.

Getting Help

As long as you start forming your relapse prevention and aftercare plan while you are enrolled in a drug rehab program, it should be possible for you to maintain your long term recovery without giving in to the risk of relapse.


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